Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

“My first memory has always been of me and my mom on a cold grey day down at some beach in Washington, along the Puget sound somewhere near Seattle. I would be around two or three years old and we’re with a friend of mine from the neighborhood and his mom. Walking around among the driftwood looking for crabs. Even now, I can remember the smell and temperature of the air, the feeling of the sand and the swaying tall grass I can even remember looking over at my friend and how his face looked when he smiled back at me Another memory that I’ll sometimes recall as my first memory is dressing up in the dead of winter as Jack London with tennis rackets on my feet and wearing my dad’s hiking pack, in the middle of summer after seeing Disney’s (terrible) version of White Fang. or There’s the memory of stealing my neighbor’s big wheel and riding it halfway down the block before getting caught and having to turn around defeated, or of wearing a fireman’s outfit while washing my parent’s car, or eating an orange popsicle from the ice cream truck.

These are and have always been some of my most distinct and persistent memories of childhood, so i came as a disappointment to me when one day as a teenager I opened up a photo album and found pictures of each and every one of those memories. I didn’t have a single memory that didn’t belong to or somehow grow from pictures my parents had taken of me when I was growing up even the scenes I remember so clearly in my head are from the same angles as those photographs and I don’t really know what to to make of it. I’m going to guess that I’d seen all theses photographs at some point, forgotten they were just photographs and over time made them into my most tangible memories. That’s scary to me in a way.”
Excerpt
Warren Gamaliel Bancroft Winnipeg Harding
Chicago, Illinois
April 6th, 2008

When I first read that, my thoughts immediately turned to my childhood. My first real “distinct” memory being my third birthday. We gathered around the glass-topped octogon table in the lounge room in the morning. My first tricycle, pink with white foam or rubber wheels, was my gift. It was small and light enough that it was sat upon the table.

Before that, vague moments exist. Snippets of a holiday to Perth when I was 2 and a half. Burning my arm on a hot iron at 18 months. Sitting in a green shell pool in the side garden by the carport at less than a year old. I am not even sure if those memories are real, or if they have been ingrained into me through photos and retellings over the years. Particularly my burn. I can picture the event from start to finish, from pulling the cord from the ironing board, to being thrown screaming into a bath with running cold water. My mum half dressed for work. I believe that it all stems from being told the story dozens of times over.

Yet these moments still feel a part of my history as real and tangible as what I ate for breakfast this morning. They might be insignificant in the grand scheme of who I am, but they still feel real. Our memories are biased, self-serving and at worst, completely false in some cases. Our memories lie to us every day.

If we try hard enough, and look back long enough, our history changes and distorts itself depending on our later needs and experiences. Stare at a photograph long enough, and it can be whatever you want it to be.

The camera never lies is a lie unto itself. So long as the human memory is fallible  the camera creates its own truth, to be reinterpreted countless times over.

With my most recent film, My Boy finally finished and off to be sound mixed tomorrow, I can finally take a load off. It is such a relief to be finished with the project I have been working on for nearly a year. It is interesting now that I have finally created a film in which I haven’t compromised anything in the script. It has been far more encouraging and interesting to write whatever the hell I wanted and take some risks, rather than play it safe. It has been a while since I did that. Perhaps that is because I now know the reality of the filmmaking business. The costs to do everything, the requirements, the festival submissions, the distant glimmer of paid work…

I’d say the last time I made something ambitious and really enjoyable was when I was blissfully naive, and armed with nothing but a video camera and an idea:

GET OUT – A short film by Stacey Quine

 

This short film, which uses a combination of live action and photographic stop motion footage, was created and submitted for VCE Media in 2010. It recieved top marks and I submitted it to Top Screen, but I was unsuccessful there. I now wish I had thought back then to try some more avenues. It was for a while exhibited in the Gippsland Art Gallery, along with other artistic works by secondary students in the area.

I developed an interest for surrealism in cinema, and always intended on using stop motion animation in some way. I chose to explore the meaning behind dreams, and the importance of facing up to fears. It was quite a simple idea and story really.

It boggles to think, now compared with what I am doing, that this film was made with around $50, two cast members, and no crew other than myself over the course of several nights over several weeks. All the lighting was done using a couple of flood lights, prac lamps and burning through a lot of cellophane.

My actors were friends, begged and bribed, and most props I either had on hand or borrowed. Editing was done on basic software and the music was free and found on the web (Thanks Kevin Mcleod!).

I remember racing against time as I was trying to avoid kitchen/lounge/laundry renovations that were happening at the time that I shot. You can see stripped back concrete floors in some shots if you look closely.

I had very minimal technical skills at this point. I had recently worked out the powers of white balance, and I try to use it creatively. Did it work? You be the judge. The stop motion was shot on a gutsy “compact” camera with a zoom lens. I just kind of made up how to use the manual settings as I went along.

I’m not sure that if I tried to create this film again, it would work so well. Sure, I could really boost the production values, an maybe even make the storyline clearer (it isn’t terribly clear), but I quite enjoy the ambitious, amateur feel about this. It’s optimistic and I like that. I used this film to get into my course at VCA, so I quite literally would not be where I am today without this film.
This was when I really became excited about film making. Lately I feel like I’ve been bogged down in the reality and technical side of film making, but I think I am getting excited again.